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Dune communities of SE Colorado: Patterns of rarity, disjunction and successionAuthor(s): T. Kelso; N. Bower; P. Halteman; K. Tenney; S. Weaver
Source: In: Barlow-Irick, P.; Anderson, J.; McDonald, C., tech eds. Southwestern rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of the Fourth Conference; March 22-26, 2004; Las Cruces, New Mexico. Proceedings. RMRS-P-48CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 39-48
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: View PDF (385 B)
DescriptionDune communities occur across the western Great Plains and in isolated spots in eastern Colorado. They are biologically important due to their endemic nature, their rapid succession, and their ephemeral abundance in response to climate, grazing practices, and ranchland management. The abundance of these terrestrial islands has changed considerably over scales from tens to thousands of years. The Colorado dune communities have high conservation value due to their unusual biota and diminished presence. They also are of value as sentinel communities for more wide-scale biotic change in surrounding grasslands. These communities have not received detailed documentation of their interactive biotic and geological profiles in recent years. This study provides such a profile for an isolated dune complex in El Paso County, Colorado where we examine their plant species, vegetation patterns, and geochemical characteristics. Dune communities are threatened in part because of ranchland practices that seek to diminish their presence. We identify here areas of mutual interest and potential collaboration between ranchers and biologists that might serve to mitigate conflicts between conservation goals for a unique biota and the practical exigencies of ranchland management in semi-arid grasslands.
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CitationKelso, T.; Bower, N.; Halteman, P.; Tenney, K.; Weaver, S. 2007. Dune communities of SE Colorado: Patterns of rarity, disjunction and succession. In: Barlow-Irick, P.; Anderson, J.; McDonald, C., tech eds. Southwestern rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of the Fourth Conference; March 22-26, 2004; Las Cruces, New Mexico. Proceedings. RMRS-P-48CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 39-48
Keywordsplant conservation, dune communities, western Great Plains, biota, semi-arid grassland
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